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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Sugar might make you stupid

At this point, the message about eating too much processed sugar is clear: That stuff screws up your body in serious ways. But a new study suggests that too much sugar could do more than that. It could mess up your brain, as well.

Technically, what this study found is that too much sugar can screw up rats' brains. The study let rats OD on high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and found that it disrupted their ability to learn, think, and remember. Here's what Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, the UCLA neurosurgery professor who led the study, had to say about it:

Read more: Food

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Solar-powered implants could help blind people see

We talk a lot about the wondrous benefits that solar energy can bring to the world, but a new research project from Stanford University bumps solar's do-gooder powers to a whole new level: Solar power could help blind people see.

Right now, retinal implants can restore some degree of sight to blind people. But the implants need to be wired to an outside power source in order to keep charged. Plus, they're big and unwieldy. New solar-powered implants could be much smaller and get power from light, eliminating the need for wires. These implants could also produce images with higher resolution than current implant technology can manage.

Read more: Living, Solar Power

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Critical List: Last 12 months were the hottest on record; groups protest Arctic drilling

The national average temperature over the past 12 months was the hottest ever recorded.

Thanks to fracking, North Dakota now produces more oil than any other than state except Texas.

Environmental groups protested drilling in the Arctic Sea outside the White House yesterday.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Wasted milk produces as much CO2 as 20,000 cars

Photo by Chelsea Phillips.

The time to start crying over spilled milk is NOW. According to researchers from the University of Edinburgh, wasted milk in the U.K. creates the equivalent of 110,000 tons of CO2 every year. That's equivalent to the emissions from 20,000 cars.  

Read more: Factory Farms, Food

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Nonprofit teaches you how to save endangered species, then gives you a tattoo of one

Let me tell you about your generation, people in your 20s. You like brunch. You're not sure what you're doing with your life. You give a shit about the future of the planet. And you have tattoos. Shhhh. You have tattoos. I won't tell your grandma; it's cool.

Conservation nonprofit Tatzoo will not give you brunch (as far as I know), but it can help you with the other things. Apply for Tatzoo's training bootcamp, and the organization will teach you crucial skills for becoming a leader in conservation activism. Each team at the 10-week training camp will work to preserve an endangered species, gaining experience in fundraising, organizing, and communication along the way. And at the end of the program, you get a tattoo of the species you've helped work to save.

Read more: Animals

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Chairs and tables that double as indoor gardens

Growing herbs in your backyard or on your roof is all very well and good, if you have a backyard or a roof. But what if you live in a shitty little apartment that doesn't even have a balcony? Well, assuming you have things like tables and chairs, you can take inspiration from these prototypes to turn them into thriving indoor gardens. (If you don't have things like tables and chairs, you are probably some kind of forest creature, and you should just plant seeds in piles of your own excrement until whoever owns the apartment comes home and shoos you.)

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Elm caretaker to be buried in coffin made from beloved elm

Frank Knight spent decades keeping Herbie, New England's tallest elm tree, alive. The tree lived for 217 years and under Knight's care survived 14 bouts of Dutch Elm diseases.

Two years ago, the tree had to come down. At the time, Knight was 101. As the Associated Press reports:

"His time has come," Knight told The Associated Press at the time. "And mine is about due, too."

Read more: Green Jobs, Living

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Infographic: The later it gets, the more crap we eat

Breakfast time (7 a.m. PST).

I don't have to tell you that people eat crappier food late at night than they do in the light of day. You probably figured that out when Taco Bell invented a fourth meal in the middle of the night. But according to Massive Health's interactive map of self-reported food quality, we're on a slippery health slope from the time we wake up in the morning. Food choices get consistently more lousy as the day wears on.

Lunchtime (12 noon PST).
Read more: Food

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Turbine that looks like a piece of art will fit right in at your yacht club

There are some who believe that those behemoth white wind turbines are beautiful and some (Donald Trump) who believe that they're a blight on the landscape. Well, here is a wind turbine that will win over both groups. It’s like the Frosted Mini-Wheats of wind energy: The penny pincher in you loves the efficiency, but the Trump in you loves the fact that it looks like it came from West Elm.

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Critical List: We need a whole extra earth; Hawaii’s beaches are disappearing

We'd need one and a half Earths to fulfill all the demands we put on the planet in 2008 -- and it's getting worse.

The Department of the Interior moved forward with the Atlantic wind transmission line, a Google-funded underwater power line that would bring offshore wind energy to 2 million homes.

Hawaii's beaches are eroding away.

Read more: Uncategorized